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NARAL Smear Tactics Distort the Truth About Crisis Pregnancy Centers

By Thomas A. Glessner, J.D.
March 24, 2009

(Note: This commentary was written in response to a negative commentary by the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) that was published on March 20, 2009 in the Free Lance Star, a newspaper in Fredericksburg, Virginia. The Free-Lance Star has agreed to publish this response. While it is in specific response to the allegations made by the Virginia chapter of NARAL it is appropriate for all other areas of the country since NARAL and other organizations in the abortion industry have for years been active in a nationwide smear campaign against prolife Pregnancy Resource Centers.)

The recent commentary by Jessica Bearden from the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) entitled "Crisis Pregnancy Centers. The Zeal is Unreal" is the latest in a sad history of NARAL attacking the integrity of prolife Pregnancy Resource Centers (PRCs). A strong response is required.

PRCs (also called "crisis pregnancy centers") are prolife in philosophy and have operated in every community for more than twenty-five years. Currently, over 3,000 PRCs provide free to hundreds of thousands of women a year material assistance, legal help, pregnancy testing/diagnosis, and medical services. Currently, nearly 700 PRCs operate as licensed medical clinics that are supervised by licensed physicians and staffed by medical professionals. One such medical clinic in Fredericksburg — Bethany Pregnancy Services — provides ultrasound as well as other support services to empower pregnant mothers to be able to carry their pregnancies to term.

No other agencies — certainly not abortion providers and abortion advocates like NARAL — are providing free support services to help mothers in problem pregnancies. Instead, NARAL opposes PRCs as scandalous only because they are prolife and do not provide abortions or referrals for abortions. To NARAL this requires a smear campaign. However, because NARAL cannot substantiate its accusations it couches them in general terms with a broad brush slandering every PRC.

NARAL's attack is the latest from a multi-million dollar abortion industry that wants to close down PRCs. In the mid-1980s Planned Parenthood of New York launched a national negative campaign against PRCs accusing them of deception — the very same things spewed in Bearden's commentary. Dr. Marvin Olasky, a professor of Journalism at the University of Texas, uncovered this campaign in an extensive study published in Public Relations Review, Autumn 1987. This study states:

"The majority of (prolife) counseling centers offer free pregnancy tests to draw clients, as many pro-choice groups and abortion businesses do, but they tell callers that they do not perform abortions... Interviews show that in order to obey one commandment against killing (with the implication that Christians should attempt to save the lives of others) most prolife volunteers are not willing to disregard the commandment about bearing false witness." (Pp 14-15)

Indeed, the three major national organizations that have a combined membership comprising nearly 90% of all PRCs — the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA), Heartbeat International, and Care Net — all are insistent that their affiliates provide services with integrity, truthfulness and honesty. These organizations have endorsed for their membership a national code of conduct entitled Commitment to Care. A review of this national code clearly shows that PRCs operate under the highest principles of integrity. (To review go to www.nifla.org/memben.asp)

I was amused with the one specific example in Bearden's commentary concerning an investigative report compiled by NARAL Maryland. Such report accused one PRC volunteer of being hostile and aggressive in her counseling session with the NARAL fake client that had come into the PRC "undercover." The accusation, of course, was general and did not give specifics concerning the counselor and the PRC where allegedly this incident occurred. This testimony was given at hearings in both the Maryland Senate and House of Representatives last year over a bill sponsored by NARAL to injure PRCs. I was present at both hearings and testified. As a former trial attorney I can attest that the credibility of the NARAL staff person who gave this testimony was questionable and ripe for impeachment if she had been cross-examined. At the end of the hearing a pro-choice Maryland Senator apologized to me and said that the bill was dead. Indeed, the predominantly pro-choice Maryland legislature refused to bring the NARAL sponsored legislation to a vote.

America is a nation divided on abortion. However, our United States Supreme Court has stated, "men and women of good conscience can disagree... about the profound moral and spiritual implications of terminating a pregnancy." Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (1992) Yet, to NARAL the compassionate people who work at PRCs cannot be "of good conscience." Rather, NARAL insists on smearing them as "deceptive", "coercive" and "extreme."

NARAL claims to be "pro-choice." However, to have a choice in any matter means that one has more than one option. NARAL supports only one option to a mother in a crisis pregnancy — abortion. And it opposes the work of agencies that are providing support services to empower women to choose life. It appears that NARAL is really not pro-choice at all but pro-abortion. This is evidenced by its shameless attack on those who sincerely want to provide life-affirming choices to problem pregnancies.

The integrity of those who give of themselves in PRCs is an example of people who live their lives under the highest of ideals, i.e. the "Golden Rule." They should be applauded for their selfless work.

Copyright © 2009 by Thomas A. Glessner. All rights reserved.

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